As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
And just like that, my baby is in 4th grade!
Ian has been the child that has challenged me the most in our homeschooling journey. He just really doesn’t have any interest in school. And, honestly, I don’t get it – he has so much potential. But, I’ve had to make so many adjustments over the years. And, for the most part, we’ve ended up taking more of an unschooling approach for the past several years.
When it came time for required PA 3rd grade testing this past Spring, I have to admit that I was a bit nervous. But, he passed with flying colors!
This year, I’m feeling pretty confident that I’ve finally chosen a combination of curriculum that is going to work for him. We’re working on Week 4 here; and so far, so good.
Math has been the biggest challenge for me over the years. Because Ian can’t really stand sitting down and doing a TON of workbook-type exercises, I feel like I’ve lost him when it comes to math. After a LOT of research this year, and looking at lots of options at convention, I finally settled on Singapore Math.
It has just the right combination of teaching and practice work. Each day, there are pages in the text to go over with the child. Then there are workbook pages that the child can work through on his own. I purchased from My Father’s World and bought their guide for me too – it’s an answer key and day planner all rolled into one and I really appreciate the ease that it gives to this course. If this continues to work, this will be my go-to for math for the next several years.
Once again, in my attempt to eliminate having a bunch of different workbooks, I turned back to an old favorite of ours – Total Language Plus. I like this approach because it covered Spelling, Vocabulary, Grammar, Writing, etc. all rolled into on resource. It doesn’t require a ton of busy-work writing, which Ian is adverse to.
The studies that we’ve chosen to do this year are Shiloh, Pippi Longstocking, and Charlotte’s Web. We’re working through Shiloh first. I love the list of suggested activities to do to accompany the study. This week, for example, we’re going to make zucchini bread!
Thankfully, Ian has been an avid reader for quite some time. It’s one area of his schooling that I don’t have to stress over because he loves to read and doesn’t complain about reading. Therefore, I really don’t assign much “formal” reading. I do have a large stack of children’s biographies here that Gracie put in history-order and he’s going to read through them to tie in with Gracie’s musical/history studies. He’s currently reading about Abraham Lincoln.
These books will also be considered “History” as they are all historical in nature.
I waver with elementary science. Some years, I’m very gung-ho Apologia, and other years I rethink that strategy. This year, since Gracie is doing Apologia’s (high school) Biology, I pulled out Christian Kids Explore Biology for Ian. I figured, that way, he will feel like he’s studying the same thing, and maybe even pick up on some of what she is doing. (I KNOW he’s going to want to get involved with the dissections – at least from afar!)
Several weeks in, and it’s still going well (and science is NOT my forte); so I’m feeling good about the decision.
I didn’t have anything specific in mind when we started the school year; but, on the first or second day of our schedule, a book called Prayer Works arrived in the mail for me to check out. It’s a supplement (for kids) to the movie “War Room” (the new movie from the Kendrick brothers).
Each chapter in the book is divided into 5 smaller lessons – we read one chapter a week, or one lesson a day. It’s been a sweet way to teach Ian more about prayer and the importance of developing a prayer life now.
This won’t take all year. I don’t currently have anything lined up to use next; but I’m sure we’ll find something!
I have plenty of supplemental stuff laying around, but I think Ian’s busy enough at the moment. Maybe we’ll ease in some extra goodies – like art – in a few weeks. We’ll see. (My homeschool coffers are full – so we are never wanting for extras!)
It was high time to take a more proactive approach to planning Ian’s school days. So, this year we are using a planner from Target – it’s a Mead Five-Star version. It’s the same planner that Gracie is using. I like it, because there are 2-page month-at-a-glance spreads where I can schedule all his extra-curricular activities, appointments, etc. Then, there are 2-page weekly spreads with plenty of room to write assignments and other things on each day. Plus, there are check-off boxes for him. So, I sit down at the beginning of each week and set up his schedule for the week – then he knows exactly what we need to work on each day. It’s been working very well.
My favorite record-keeping tool continues to be My Home School Grades. This tool just keeps getting better!